Learning management systems are designed to make teaching and learning easier. But a slow, manual implementation process often hinders how teachers use their new district platform.
Lisa Mancini, a 7th grade ELA teacher at Central Bucks School District in Warrington, Pennsylvania, is piloting Canvas this year before her district’s full roll out. While Mancini is excited for her district to fully implement the platform next year, it’s taking her a lot of time and effort to transfer curricular materials.
“I have to figure out how to take my content and use it on Canvas. I'm starting from scratch essentially,” said Mancini.
“I feel like, right now, the transfer process is up to the teachers. We’re focusing more on the logistics of using Canvas, and not as much on the content and what you can do with it in the LMS.”
Leslie Ceballos, an assistant principal at Allen Independent School District outside of Dallas, Texas, had a similar experience when her district implemented Canvas.
“Having materials that could integrate from the start would have definitely made life for our teachers so much easier,” said Ceballos.
Digital content is key
If Mancini and Ceballos had been working with instructional content that better integrated with Canvas, their districts could have more easily made the switch.
“Transitioning to an LMS should be more seamless. Everything should pop into one spot for me,” said Mancini.
Curricular materials with deep LMS integration ensure that getting content into teachers’ hands is never an issue.
Truly digital content promotes flexibility among multiple modalities
Though districts can generally transfer PDF versions of their current instructional resources into their LMS, teachers in these districts miss out on the classroom flexibility that LMS platforms promise when they teach with this type of stagnant content. Natively digital materials that are delivered through an LMS can better support classroom engagement with options for independent, collaborative, and teacher-led learning.
“Teachers want blended learning in their classrooms, and I think it’s important for content to open them up to that blended learning environment,” said Ceballos.
An LMS can open classrooms up to new learning modalities only when it’s paired with digital high-quality materials that are built from the ground up to support this type of learning.
The right kind of curricular materials help you build on your investment
Flexible and easy-to-use content enhances the benefits that districts sign up for when they purchase an LMS. When these instructional materials empower teachers in the classroom, a district’s investment can go a long way.
Administrators in Georgia’s Paulding County School District originally purchased Canvas for their virtual school, but the district didn’t have a plan in place to support a roll out to the rest of the school system.
“We had low utilization,” said Dr. Bonnie Cochran, Paulding County’s Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning.
“We tried to get teachers into it for their own benefit, but we found that it’s not a realistic expectation to learn an LMS and create everything that’s in there.”
By integrating LearnZillion’s materials into their LMS, they were able to bring the rest of their district into the fold; getting more teachers on board and getting more out of their investment.
“Ultimately, the conversation we kept having was that until we have high-quality digital resources in that LMS, this would be an ongoing battle,” said Cochran.
An LMS can be a strategic and worthy investment for districts and their teachers, but can only do so much unless it’s paired with deeply integrated materials truly built to support high-quality instruction.
See how LearnZillion content can easily integrate with your LMS:
Emily Priborkin is the Marketing Communications Associate at LearnZillion. A musical theatre nerd at heart, she'll gladly recite and perform all of the music from Les Misérables on command.